Madison County is the latest county in Idaho to implement a burn ban.
The county commissioners met for an emergency meeting on Tuesday an passed an ordinance that declares a temporary open fire ban from July 13 to Sept. 30.
Madison Fire Department Chief Corey Child explained to the commissioners why the fire department supported a burn ban during the meeting.
Child said one factor that he felt necessitated the burn ban was the National Interagency Fire Center raising the National Preparedness Level for wildfires to Level 4 on June 23. This is the second highest level, with Level 5 being the highest.
According to a Madison Fire Department press release, June 23 is the second earliest date that Level 4 has been activated since 1990. This is due to a significant increase in fire activity in multiple geographic areas, as well as an increased competition for shared resources nationwide.
“You can imagine we’re on the edge of our seats a little bit,” Child said during the meeting.
The fire department said any fire started in Madison County has a high probability of resulting in a large fire due to low fuel moisture, low relative humidity and drought conditions.
The ordinance says the burn ban applies to “any and all outdoor fires, including but not limited to, campfires, warming fires, all explosives, firing of model rockets, discharge of tracer bullets, discharge of fireworks, exploding targets, welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame (other than in an area cleared of all flammable materials and with adequate firefighting equipment immediately available and on hand), the burning of trash and debris and open burning which is offensive (or) objectionable because of smoke or odor emissions or when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous.”
The burn ban does not apply to recreational fires contained within an established fire ring, wood burning stoves, roadside emergency flares and registered prescribed burns. Violations of the burn ban will be considered a misdemeanor and carry a $100-$300 fine.
“It’s hard to police it all but hopefully it brings some awareness to help keep people safe,” said County Commissioner Todd Smith.
Other nearby counties to implement a burn ban are Fremont, Bonneville and Teton counties. Smith said Jefferson County was also considering a burn ban.